A Christian man was beaten and imprisoned in Mexico in what has been described as "the latest instance in a long trend of persecution".
Lauro Nunez, from Chachalacas in the Oaxaca region, was attacked by a mob on Easter Monday as he attempted to return to his village to visit his family. He had previously been expelled from his home for his evangelical Christian faith.
International Christian Concern (ICC), which reported the event, said it was one example of many attacks on minority Christian groups in Oaxaca. Mexico has a dominant Roman Catholic population (82.7 per cent) with evangelicals (5 per cent) and pentecostals (1.6 per cent) a minority. The country's constitution maintains the right of all citizens to profess their religion of choice.
However the Washington DC-based persecution charity has reported a series of incidents where evangelicals were pressured into converting to Catholicism by officials and locals in rural Mexico.
A spokesman for the charity said he was "very troubled" by the attack which he described as "yet another instance of violence perpetrated against minority Christians" in the central American country.
Nate Lance, ICC's advocacy manager, said he was "appalled that the state government continues to allow this persecution to fester, allowing more Christians to be displaced, imprisoned and beaten".
"If the government does not intervene to protect religious minorities, I see no reason why the trend of increased persecution will not continue," he said.
"We ask in the strongest of terms that those in power in Mexico utilise their authority to put an end to this persecution and restore freedom of worship."